please don't

part three

Suddenly a man appeared from out the tree boughs with something like headphones (for the chainsaw?) or a walkman on his head. He walked not toward us but toward the way we came in, in a herky jerky way. not subtle at all. Our conversation froze and that seemed to stop him walking. Then he came slowly up to us. The closer he got the weirder he looked. The headphones looked more like a disguise. He was stubbly, ruddy, bumpy nosed and wild eyed. His ginger hair was all akimbo and his face was twisted and puffy. He got right up to me, while I was still sitting down, leaned in real close and said something like "I'm homeless and me and my wife are living back there in that tree and i have to go do some stuff and i'd really appreciate it if you'd please don't rape her while i'm gone." All this staring me right in the eye.

I sputtered out something remarkably civil, along the lines "by gosh, don't you worry, we sure won't." then he started walking away again. Tim said "that was for me." We said what do you mean? and he said "because i'm black." We took his word for it but mainly our adrenaline was flowing and we were scared as shit. We started walking the opposite direction from the way we'd come in, not sure if we were going deeper into the park or coming out again. We rushed hurrying each other along, looking behind us. We made it to the sidewalk and stepped onto it as if out of Narnia. We went up to the outlook and stood around going "oh man was that weird. ohmigod. are we safe here?" Just then one of the mounted police came by and stood around making us feel incredibly self-conscious. We hightailed it back to the apartment.

On the way we passed an old woman. As we got close, i listened to Tim talking about his computer or e-mail or the web or something and I got this kind of silly generational mock paranoia feeling and as we passed the lady I said in bogus pig-latin "ix-nay on the omcuter-pay" like in a really scared voice. We all cracked up and by the time we were back at Alec's we were laughing but still shaken.

By then we were definitely past the chemical peak of the trip, on that long nice gentle downhill slope, and we were re-hashing the event, fixing it in our minds, reflecting on the irony of Alec's paeans to the cosmos, followed, with impeccable timing, by a cosmic joke. One that made it absolutely clear what we were getting away with all the time. I'd say Alec's moment of unity with the oneness of it all was a sort of peak, and there must have been like I said a chemical, mathematical peak in there, but by far the central focus of it all for us was that emotional fight-or-flight peak. (Remember, we had made a rule to "run away" at the first sign of trouble). All of this was prompted in my memory by you saying that you peaked several times during your claustrophobically bad trip.

Thanks for making me write this. I may change the names and publish it.


Copyright © 1997
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Path of Least Resistance
Cover of Enterzone episode 12